NYIA: Many Renters Lack Renters Insurance Despite Premium Decreases

October 6, 2014

The New York Insurance Association (NYIA) says the percentage of renters buying renters insurance has been falling nationally in recent years even as premiums become more affordable.

According to a 2014 Insurance Information Institute poll conducted by ORC International, only 37 percent of renters nationwide said they had renters insurance, down from 43 percent in 2006. The NYIA said renters insurance is an affordable way for renters to ensure protection from a number of different risks.

In New York, the average renters insurance policy premium decreased from $220 per year in 2006 to $210 per year in 2011, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

For less than $20 a month, New York renters can purchase renters insurance to ensure that belongings are covered against losses from theft, fire, smoke, lightning, and other dangers, NYIA said. The association recommends that renters evaluate their risks and choose from a variety of available coverage options to best meet their needs.

NYIA President Ellen Melchionni said too many renters underestimate the value of the personal possessions they’ve accumulated over the years or assume their landlord’s insurance policy covers their possessions. “Renters insurance is an affordable way to ensure you are protected from a number of different risks,” Melchionni said.

“A standard renters policy provides coverage for big-ticket personal items — such as furniture, computers and television sets — in the event they are damaged or destroyed,” Melchionni said. “And, like homeowners insurance, renters insurance protects you from liability. The insurance covers your financial responsibility for injuries accidentally caused by you, a family member, or your pet and pays legal defense costs if you are taken to court.”

NYIA said that by purchasing renters insurance, renters can:

• Protect personal possessions. There are two types of policies that cover personal property. A replacement cost policy will pay the policyholder to replace items, while an actual cash value policy will pay the cost of items minus a deduction for depreciation.

• Be safeguarded against lawsuits. In the event of property damage or bodily injury occurring on the renter’s property, at least $100,000 of liability coverage is typically provided to policyholders and additional coverage is available depending on the policy.

• Cover additional living expenses. If a policyholder is unable to live at home because of a fire or other covered damage, renters insurance will cover the costs of living elsewhere. This includes accommodations at a hotel or living in a temporary rental, meals or other expenses while the policyholder’s home is being rebuilt or repaired.

NYIA also recommends that renters consider other insurance options, such as flood insurance, umbrella liability policies and earthquake insurance, for coverage that is not offered through a standard renters insurance policy.

Source: The New York Insurance Association

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